Is there a crisis in SEND provision?


The National Education Union is highlighting the extent to which SEND pupils are being failed by the school system, with over 8,500 children and young people currently “awaiting provision” for a school place, with no access to any type of education.

Research by the NEU has drawn attention to this crisis in SEND provision, finding that 93% of local authorities have lost out on SEND funding since 2015 because of the government’s shortfall in special needs provision. That’s more than 9 out of 10 local authorities who don’t have enough funds to meet the needs of children with severe and complex special needs.

Throughout all of England, the loss of funding has totalled £1.2billion since 2015, as the funding granted to local authorities has failed to keep up with rapidly increasing demand for SEND provision. The number of children and young people with an Education Health and Care Plan has increased by 33% since 2015, but funding has only increased 6% in the same period.

Last year, the NEU and parents and carers of SEND children delivered a 13,000-signature petition to demand that MPs increase the amount of available funding to meet growing needs. (See the full petition here.)

As a response, the DfE wrote to the NEU, outlining an extra £350million of funding for SEND provision – £250million of which is ringfenced as “high-needs funding” and the extra £100million being allocated for local authorities to improve their specialist provision and facilities, such as in special units, mainstream schools, colleges or special schools. In the same letter, it is noted that “extra funding and other measures are a partial response, and that more needs to be done”, which is promising as this extra funding does not cover the total needed to meet requirements.

The lack of funding has knock-on effects for SEND teachers and support staff. In research conducted separately by the NEU, it was discovered that only 34% of SENCOs are intending to remain in their roles within the next 5 years, with workload cited as the main reason for wanting to leave. Local authorities simply do not have the funds to adequately support their SEND teachers and support staff – whether through training or the provision of specialist assistance.

What are we doing about it?

At Engage, we’re committed to improving SEND provision for pupils across the country by plugging the gap in training and support wherever possible, and ensuring that all of our SEND candidates, teachers and support staff have the required personal and professional support to feel confident in their roles.

Support for Engage SEND teachers:

  • Free Team Teach training on de-escalation strategies and physical intervention for all SEND teachers and support staff.
  • Access to our free Employee Assistance Programme with our partners at the Education Support Partnership, offering 24/7 mental health and wellbeing support for when things get difficult as well as legal and financial advice and counselling sessions face-to-face or online.
  • On-going free CPD events for all teachers and support staff covering topics such as autism awareness, phonics, behaviour management, and other relevant SEND topics.
  • Assistance from our Partnership & Development team who will liaise with your school to find areas for improvement and provide training to add to your strengths as a teacher.

We’ve placed 3,393 educators into roles in the SEND sector, and filled 116,840 days of supply work in SEND schools, not to mention our full-time permanent Engage teachers currently working with SEND pupils! To benefit from a rewarding role in SEND provision, take a look at our current SEND vacancies or get in touch with our friendly SEND team to find out more.

Image Credit: NEU

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